Rules of the Road

Car Care 101 Rules of the Road by Sears Auto

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Windshield Wiper Care

Windshield Wiper Care

When to Replace Windshield Wiper Blades

It’s a scary fact-- 90% of our driving decisions are made based solely on visual information, yet one out of every five vehicles on the road has deficient windshield wipers.

Deficient windshield wipers can mean low or blocked visibility and are extremely frustrating and dangerous. Wiper blades that no longer make proper contact with the windshield surface can significantly impair your visibility as they streak, smear, chatter, skip and squeak.

It’s pretty clear--- In order for you to safely react to what’s happening on the road, you need to be able to see it! As a rule, wiper blades should be checked regularly and replaced every six months.

If you’re driving and notice a difference in your ability to see, here are some things you should check for.

Inspect Your Wiper Blades for Damage

  • Frame problems – This can be either a completely broken frame or detachment of frame arms at joints or connection points
  • Metal corrosion – Look for this specially at joints and claws
  • Squeegee cracks – This includes visible cracks, tears and missing pieces in the rubber squeegee’s edge
  • Rubber squeegee that won’t flex -- Squeegees should flex back and forth in order to properly conform to the shape of your windshield. Aged squeegees with difficulty flexing will create streaks
  • Rounded squeegee edges – A rounded edge can prevent the wiper blade from making strong contact with the windshield and reduce wipe quality
  • Loose wiper blades - Tug to ensure the wiper blade has been securely installed on the wiper arm
  • Secure squeegee - Check that the squeegee is secure in the wiper frame

How to Protect the Life of Wiper Blades

Snow, sleet and ice can damage wiper blades, but so can ultraviolet light, ozone deterioration, car wax and exhaust oil, sand, dust, mud, acid rain and salt water! Here are some things you can do to help protect the life of your wiper blades.

  • Clean your windshield every time you fill your gas tank.
  • Gently wipe the rubber squeegee with a damp paper towel to remove any loose dirt or oil.
  • Never use your windshield wipers to de-ice your windshield. Instead, use an ice scraper to remove ice and snow or let your defroster melt them off your windshield.
  • In winter months, pull your wiper blades away from your windshield to prevent ice build-up on the squeegee and to prevent them from sticking to the windshield.

Wiper Blades Infographic

Remember, it’s important to put replacement wiper blades on your car every six months. To make sure you’re using the wiper blades that are right for your car, schedule an appointment at a Sears Auto Center near you. 

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